Tuesday, November 03, 2009


University advocacy site—THINK BINGHAMTON—redesigned and launched today.

Visit the new THINK site and sign up to become a Binghamton University advocate. The site features a clean design calling visitors to action for critical issues including plans to create a new law school, explaining University-created results in our region and state, and resource for your personal advocacy.

The THINK site truly follows the web usability rule of thumb, “Don’t make me think.”

Posted by drew on 06:01 PM • (0) CommentsPermalink
Monday, November 02, 2009

Daily Photo

Daily photo feature of Binghamton University launches

Can one photograph taken on any given day capture the essence of Binghamton University? Perhaps not, but a collection of daily photos may come close.

Take a look at the daily photo feature which is linked at the bottom of every Binghamton University webpage. I think you’ll enjoy the work of University Photographer, Jonathan Cohen, and what it says about Binghamton University.

Posted by drew on 01:40 PM • (0) CommentsPermalink
Friday, September 25, 2009

Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science Web Site Live

Long awaited school site launches seamlessly on September 23, 2009.

The Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science is the owner of a new web presence. The comprehensive redesign was meant to unify the Watson School’s marketing message and regain it’s competitive edge. The site helps accomplish those goals by telling the rich stories of its outstanding faculty, staff, students, alumni and industry and community partners, in addition to surfacing information prospective students seek most often.

The sites launched with this project included:
o The Watson School
o Watson Advising
o Engineering Design Division
o Bioengineering
o Computer Science
o Electrical and Computer Engineering
o Mechanical Engineering
o Systems Science and Industrial Engineering

We also redeveloped their Find An Expert faculty and staff database.

Redirect scripts were written page-to-page to prevent broken links as the old sites were retired. We are grateful to the entire Watson School team for assisting us in this very big project.

Posted by drew on 03:04 PM • (0) CommentsPermalink
Monday, September 14, 2009

New Sites of Summer

Some nice new sites have rolled out recently.

I want to make you aware of some Binghamton University sites of interest that have recently been launched. One site all Binghamton employees and perhaps even all SUNY employees should know about is the new Human Resources site. It is packed full of all the information you need and with a new look and organization. Another noteworthy site is the Binghamton University Art Museum site. This site’s home page features information about upcoming and current shows—definitely worth a look. While this next one technically isn’t a website, it’s still well worth your time. It is the Alumni Reunion Weekend Homecoming 2009 e-invitation. Be sure to turn your speakers on and enjoy this simple yet very well-designed animation. Speaking of Alumni, there’s a nifty postcard creator we recently produced for the Alumni Association. Feel free to use it to send your friends and colleagues a Binghamton University e-card.

Posted by drew on 11:35 AM • (0) CommentsPermalink
Monday, August 03, 2009

Web Project Progress Deepens

Highlights of recent weeks’ web work include The Anderson Center and The Binghamton Magazine.

The Anderson Center site launched amid a lot of excitement for its interactive qualities, multimedia integration and gorgeous look. The Binghamton Magazine brings multimedia features exclusive to the web to the award-winning publication. The online version also provides keyword search-ability and archives organized by categories or by issue date. The magazine’s online content represents a significant addition to Binghamton’s web presence beginning with the current, Summer 2009 issue and going back to the Fall 2006 issue—8 issues online in all!

Let me know what you think about our progress.

Posted by drew on 03:06 PM • (0) CommentsPermalink
Friday, May 22, 2009

Award-Winning Redesign

Binghamton University Website Wins Two Awards.

The University website redesign project recently received a Judges’ Citation award from the State University of New York Council for University Advancement (SUNYCUAD). The citation was awarded by the judges of the annual SUNYCUAD Awards of Excellence Program. Of nine entrants in the “Websites—Entire Site” category only 2 awards were made. Competition was particularly keen this year with several SUNY institutions completing web redesign projects. Drew Hill, Web Director, will be accepting the award on behalf of the Binghamton University Communications and Marketing Office during SUNYCUAD’s annual conference, June 10 - 12, 2009, in Lake Placid, NY.

Our website redesign project received the coveted Judges’ Choice award during the Communications Association of the Southern Tier’s annual Genesis Awards competition, May 14. The Association represents professionals working in a combination of communications-related industries. We are honored and pleased to have our work recognized by our regional association.

So far, the redesign project has involved many people across University divisions—a true team effort. These are awards all University faculty and staff should be proud of.

Posted by drew on 02:55 PM • (0) CommentsPermalink
Thursday, April 23, 2009

New sites launched for schools, others.

March and April were occupied with lots of work migrating some highly trafficked sites.

Please take a look at these newly launched sites:
•  School of Education
•  College of Community and Public Affairs (CCPA)
- Human Development
- Public Administration
- Social Work
- Student Affairs Administration

•  Graduate School

Work on the redevelopment of the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science site is well underway. That effort involves the main Watson site and several departments—Bioengineering, Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Systems Science and Industrial Engineering and the Engineering Design Division. This large project is expected to be completed next month.

Some other web enhancements are worth a peek, too. They include a redeployed Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (CEMERS) site and the Harpur College of Arts and Sciences home page flash piece. We have supported several offices and departments as they’ve migrated their sites as well. Those include the Purchasing Department and the Physical Facilities sites.

If you are interested in having your site migrated into the new system, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to be added to the redevelopment list.

We have a new site that lists the upcoming training schedule through June ‘09. If you need OmniUpdate training or a refresher, I encourage you to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Posted by drew on 09:25 AM • (0) CommentsPermalink
Monday, February 02, 2009

Next Phase of Work

We have an ambitious group of projects on-deck…here are some highlights.

Through this April the web team and other Communications and Marketing staff are working to produce or migrate several websites with our academic colleagues. Here’s what we will be working on in the academic realm:

• The School of Education
• The College of Community and Public Affairs (CCPA) including the Department of Human Development, Department of Public Administration, Master of Social Work Program, and the Student Affairs Administration Program.
• The Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science, including the Engineering Design Division, Department of Bioengineering, Department of Computer Science, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering Department, Material Science and Engineering Program, and Department of Systems Science and Industrial Engineering.

There are many exciting possibilities contained in these projects. The School of Education’s founding Dean, S.G. Grant, brings a new energy to their messages and mission online. The CCPA has done a nice job with their site in the past and are well-poised to leverage the content management system. The Watson School has ambitiously engaged in the work of articulating a compelling, cohesive positioning platform for the school which will inform our web work with our Watson partners.

We look forward to this exciting body of work and the positive impact it will have on Binghamton University’s web presence.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Website Enhancements

Several improvements have been made to the web interface, thanks to constructive feedback from academic units.

I have been very encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive reaction to and support for the new website from our alumni, the public, Binghamton colleagues and our higher education peers and competitors. I have worked very hard to produce leading edge results of which you all may be proud. I am also grateful for your support.

Not all feedback has been positive though, which is to be expected. Constructive criticism is especially valuable as it is the pathway to improvement. The good news is that the Web is a dynamic medium, amenable to adjustment over time in contrast to other media like print for example.

I want you to know that in response to constructive criticism from the faculty regarding academic department sites I have directed efforts to:
o Remove or make syndicated content department-specific
o Program the departments’ names next to our logo at the top of all pages to link to their home pages
o Make the lowest-level text links (in the bread crumb navigation) go to the department instead of the University home page
o Create a page template guide to be a reference for faculty and staff
o Conduct usability testing with a graduate education focus to help guide future improvements to department sites
o Work with the Graduate School to optimize the presentation of information most prospective graduate students look for on our site
o Complete design options for departmental websites (ongoing)

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Friday, January 23, 2009

School and College Sites Go Live

The School of Management, Harpur College and Decker School of Nursing websites receive updated looks and new functions.

As a part of the new website launch on September 2, the School of Management, Harpur College of Arts and Sciences and Decker School of Nursing debuted new home pages. But they needed their entire sites upgraded to follow suit. Several hundred pages have been reproduced or migrated using our OmniUpdate content management system (CMS) to build-out these sites.

The School of Management project was expedited by three SOM staffers migrating pages with the guidance of our web team’s Gerald Hovancik, Producer/Developer. The site launched on November 25 with several new features including a flash-based slide show on the home page.

Harpur College of Arts and Sciences rolled out a new website on December 9. The new site involved integrating the Harpur Law Alumni database. Plans are being laid to enhance its home page with rotating images and video later this year.

DSON included 17.3 person-days of effort by the Web Group on top of their staffer’s efforts. The site migration affected 175 pages and included significant restructuring of its information architecture for better usability. As a result, DSON’s programs are more visible and its home page displays a rotation of some DSON’s faculty profiles.


Training editors in OmniUpdate is a an important aspect of this on-going project. Sessions are hosted by the UCTD in LNG112 and are divided between beginner and advanced users. Seats are very limited so preregistration is required. Training dates have been set for the spring semester. Please contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to register as space is limited.

1/26/09 Beginners 1-2:30 p.m.
1/27/09 Advanced 1-3 p.m.

2/10/09 Beginners     9-10:30 a.m.
2/11/09 Advanced       9-11 a.m.

2/24/09 Beginners     9-10:30 a.m.
2/25/09 Advanced       9-11 a.m.

3/9/09   Beginners     9-10:30 a.m.
3/11/09 Advanced       9-11 a.m.

3/23/09 Beginners     1-2:30 p.m.
3/25/09 Advanced       1-3 p.m.

Beginners sessions are for those without HTML experience. Advanced sessions are for those with previous web publishing experience and those not afraid of HTML. People in need of a refresher are welcomed.

Posted by drew on 04:04 PM • (0) Comments • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
Thursday, December 11, 2008

What happened to the fall?

Since we launched the new website a lot has transpired.

Mop-up activities, new development, Phase II planning and the beginnings of a online web guide are among several things we’ve been working on. Since the September launch we have completed two usability studies that have included graduate student prospects and graduate students as well as undergrad prospects and current students. The objective of the studies is to learn more about how these audiences perceive the web interface and discover areas for improvement. We plan to test the site with faculty, staff and community members in the future. Faculty have been particularly helpful in making suggestions for improvements, several of which are already in progress.

Additional web development has included the launch of the undergraduate admissions, School of Management, and Harpur College of Arts and Sciences sites. The Graduate School and Decker School of Nursing are being launched before the end of the month. Watson School of Engineering will be next during the first few months of 2009. The School of Education and College of Community and Public Affairs are in the early planing stages. Several administrative and academic sites are on deck for the spring semester as well.

Training in the CMS has been available throughout the fall with over 100 editors trained. Training sessions will continue during winter break, February and March. The training schedule will be announced soon to CMS users.

We appreciate the flexibility, cooperation and understanding our Binghamton University colleagues have shown as this significant change to our website and how we publish has taken place.

Posted by drew on 05:33 PM • (0) Comments • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
Friday, September 19, 2008

What Happened to August? Web Production.

New website ushers in change, deeper content, more end-user control over “information rot.”

On September 2, we launched a redesigned website that’s easier to use and showcases the accomplishments of students, faculty and alumni. Featuring more appealing colors and graphics, the changes affect the home page and main site — the top several hundred or so pages of Binghamton’s online presence that serve as a springboard into the tens of thousands of web pages at the University. You’ll find frequently refreshed news content, plenty of videos and stories about life on campus, and you’ll also see why Binghamton is the best public university in the northeast.

The website’s planning, design, writing and implementation has been a team effort across all divisions, involving approximately 60 staff members who devoted time to the project. There were many designers, writers, programmers, site migrators, and project managers on the vendor side, too. I appreciate all the efforts of everyone involved. Phase II and III work will continue through 2009 and beyond with many new enhancements to the site being planned.

The project also included installation of a content management system (CMS) at the same time as the web redesign and redevelopment. The CMS provides for easy updates and more control over content by individual departments and offices. Training for site editors using the OmniUpdate CMS continued the second week in September and on the 22nd and 25th of this month. If you are authorized to edit your pages and need training, contact the University Center for Training and Development or email “training at binghamton.edu.”

If you would like to know how your department of office can make progress toward implementing a new site with the CMS, contact me using the “Contact” link in the left column.

Posted by drew on 03:27 PM • (0) Comments • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
Monday, July 21, 2008

Designs Go to Code

Several page designs make the leap from static graphics to HTML-coded pages.

Nineteen page templates are planned for the new content management system (CMS). They have started out as graphical images during the design phase of the project which is drawing to conclusion in the next couple of weeks. The graphics then are translated into HTML pages—XHTML pages to be exact.

Ten of nineteen pages are in “code mode” as of today. Eight of those have been forwarded to OmniUpdate for their next phase. The pages are now receiving additional customized code that enables them to function as reusable page templates in the CMS. The results will be apparent to site migration teams next week in the form of a collection of page templates in the CMS. The site migrators will then begin the ambitious site migration/production phase of the project. The product of this phase will be fully apparent September 2 with the formal launch of our new web site.

To people who appreciate code, our pages are delightfully clean. They are produced with web standards, separating the content from its presentation using CSS and XSL. The pages validate against NYS Mandatory Web Guidelines, Americans With Disabilities Act Section 508, W3C CSS and XHTML validators, will have scaleable fonts and a text-only view—all of which is to say our site will be one of the most standards-compliant sites in the SUNY System.

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Monday, June 30, 2008

Writing for the Web—Continued

Foundational writing work progresses as web page manuscripts grow.

At the beginning of June I wrote about our writing efforts as part of the web redesign project. Communications Director, Katie Ellis, and a growing team of writers are tackling writing and editing a wide variety of our site sections. The writing team is working on copy relating to About, Academics, Campus Life, Giving, Research, Admissions, Future Students, Alumni and Parents. Writers from the Division of Student Affairs will be joining us for a training session on writing for the web in mid-July.

There are also writing initiatives underway for the Graduate School, News and Events, Special Interest Features and for Student, Alumni and Faculty profiles. We’re telling the world the unique Binghamton story through our new site and these engaging features. We’ll be telling about our academic excellence, research, innovative programs, achievements and outcomes among other subjects of distinction.

As our consulting firm, mStoner, reported in our Web Strategy report, there’s a great deal of fidelity between what we say we are and how our community actually experiences Binghamton. That’s really good news because, as a result, Binghamton’s story will be easier to both show AND tell through its website.

Posted by drew on 04:57 PM • (0) Comments • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Design Direction

Survey results validate design direction.

Survey invitations were sent to 2,988 prospective undergraduate students, 33 prospective graduate students, and 11 research affiliates. A total of 162 prospective undergraduates, about 5.5 percent of our list, completed the survey, as did 3 prospective graduate students and 6 research affiliates.

Survey participants were shown three designs. After each they were asked what that design said about Binghamton, what they liked about each design, and what they disliked about each design. After reviewing all three designs, the participants were asked to select the concept they liked the best and the least. They were also asked to identify which of the concepts best represented a set of seven key messages determined by the University. As a final question, they participants were asked which of three sets of language—one from each concept—they found most compelling and relevant to the kind of institution they wanted to attend.

All three audiences surveyed showed a marked preference for this design concept and its language set.

Based upon this feedback we are now working on these page designs:

• About page (serves as a guideline for secondary pages)
• Tertiary page
• News & events landing
• News article
• Search results
• Gateway

Then we will concentrate efforts on additional pages:

• Research landing
• Research subpage
• Admissions landing
• Admissions sub-page
• Minimal nav variation
• College/school landing
• College subpage
• College Landing style variation
• Academic department landing
• Academic department sub-page
• Academic department landing style variation

All of these page designs will be programmed as HTML pages and then integrated into the OmniUpdate content management system (CMS) as page templates. Website editors will choose from available templates when creating new pages for their site. We will be building-out Binghamton’s new website during the month of August using templates in the CMS.

Posted by drew on 09:25 AM • (0) Comments • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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